Illinois GOP will ‘hang Madigan around the neck’ of every Democratic campaign this year | State and Region

Corruption charges released Wednesday against former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan could haunt Democratic candidates running for office in southern Illinois this year and in the future, an analyst says. downstate politics.

“It reinforces southern Illinois views and biases against Chicago and against Madigan, which are now five decades old,” said John Jackson, visiting professor at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute in Carbondale. “Republicans are going to try to hang Madigan around the neck of every Democrat running for office.”

A federal grand jury has indicted Madigan, the longest-serving state House speaker in U.S. history, on 22 counts of racketeering and bribery in an alleged scheme involving utility giant ComEd. . The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois said Madigan used his political power to benefit himself and others.

Downstate Republicans pounced on the charges, trying to link Democrats across the state to the former president.

“The people of Illinois have known for years that Madigan was deeply corrupt and used the state government to benefit himself and his political machine,” U.S. Representative Rodney Davis said in a statement. “Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Democrats have refused to publicly admit this truth because they enabled Madigan’s corruption, and some were complicit in it.”

State Representative for Illinois Democratic Party Chairman Robin Kelly of Matteson said Democrats across the state are focused on fighting “for the things that all Democrats believe in, including raising wages, lowering costs, advocating for reproductive choice, protecting the environment, investing in our infrastructure, providing high-quality education for all, and more.”

“We will not let the actions of the past distract us from our mission in 2022 and beyond,” Kelly said.

Jesse Reising, Republican candidate for the 13th congressional district, said Illinois must “cleanse our state of the stained legacy of the corrupt Madigan Machine.”

“It starts with preventing the candidate hand-picked by Madigan Machine from being elected in Illinois’ Thirteenth Congressional District,” Reising said, referring to Democratic candidate Nikki Budzinski.

Budzinski said she hoped Madigan “will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“Corruption should be exposed and bad actors held accountable at all levels of government,” Budzinski said.

Pritzker sought to rebuke Madigan in a statement.

“Michael Madigan must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” Pritzker said. “Ultimately, every elected person is responsible for doing the right thing – and not lining their own pockets. I am fully committed to eradicating the scourge of corruption from our political system, and the act of Today’s indictment is an important step in cleaning up Illinois.”

Former Republican Senator Paul Schimpf of Waterloo, now a gubernatorial candidate, pushed back against the governor’s response.

“No amount of revisionist history gives the governor any right to tighten his pearls now,” Schimpf said in a statement.

State Representative Amy Elik, R-Fosterburg, said “it’s time to write a new chapter that begins with stronger ethical reforms to root out corruption in state government.” A Democratic candidate, former East Alton Mayor Joe Silkwood, has announced his intention to run for Elik’s seat.

Although there are unidentified individuals listed in the charging documents who describe Madigan’s alleged conspiracy centered on Chicago, they are unlikely to have any connection to southern Illinois, Jackson said.

“He didn’t need southern Illinois to do what he was doing,” Jackson said.

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